Q: My doctor said my baby has tongue-tie but not to worry. What is this?
A: Also called “ankyloglossia,” tongue-tie occurs when the frenulum—the piece of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth—is too short. The severity varies from slightly decreased mobility of the tongue to complete attachment of the tongue to the floor of the mouth; the latter can cause feeding problems for the baby and painful nipples for mom. A child with uncorrected severe tongue-tie may also experience speech problems later on. Luckily, most cases are minor and don’t require any treatment whatsoever.
In more severe cases, snipping of the frenulum is usually recommended to “loosen” the tongue. The procedure is very simple and usually done by a pediatrician, dentist or even a lactation consultant.
It’s estimated that approximately 1 percent to 5 percent of babies are tongue-tied. I see clinically significant cases only a few times a year.